Cover: Paris Sewers and Sewermen: Realities and Representations, from Harvard University PressCover: Paris Sewers and Sewermen in PAPERBACK

Paris Sewers and Sewermen

Realities and Representations

Add to Cart

Product Details

PAPERBACK

$32.00 • £25.95 • €29.00

ISBN 9780674654631

Publication Date: 01/01/1993

Academic Trade

248 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

15 halftones

World

The expansion of the Paris sewer system during the Second Empire and Third Republic was both a technological and political triumph. The sewers themselves were an important cultural phenomenon, and the men who worked in them a source of fascination. Donald Reid shows that observing how such laborers as cesspool cleaners and sewermen present themselves and are represented by others is a way to reflect on the material and cultural foundations of everyday life.

For bourgeois urbanites, the sewer became the repository of latent anxieties about disease, disorder, and anarchy. The sewermen themselves formed a model army of labor in an era of social upheaval in the workplace. They were pioneers both in demanding the right of public servants to unionize and in securing social welfare measures. They were among the first French manual laborers to win the eight-hour day, paid vacations, and other benefits.

Reid transcends traditional categories by bringing together the infrastructure and the cultural supports of society, viewing technocracy and its achievements in technical, political and cultural terms. Historians of modern France, and Francophiles in search of the unusual, will welcome the cultural interfaces of urban history, labor history, and the history of technology his book provides. His text is enlivened by drawings and photographs of the life below Paris streets, and illuminated by references to literary sources such as Hugo’s Les Miserables and Giraudoux’s The Madwoman of Chaillot.

From Our Blog

Jacket: The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America, by Khalil Gibran Muhammad, from Harvard University Press

“Predictive Policing” and Racial Profiling

While technology used in policing has improved, it hasn’t progressed, says Khalil Gibran Muhammad, if racial biases are built into those new technologies. This excerpt from his book, The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America, shows that for the reform called for by the current protests against systemic racism and racially-biased policing to be fulfilled, the police—especially those at the top—will need to change their pre-programmed views on race and the way they see the Black citizens they are supposed to “serve and protect.”